Series Introduction: I live in a small house. I work in a small office in a small church. For those reasons and others I will never have a huge library. When I add a book I almost always remove a book, a practice that allows me to focus on quality over quantity. Over the past couple of years I have focused on building a collection of commentaries that will include only the best volumes on each book of the Bible. I know when I’m in way over my head, so before I began I collected every good resource I could find that rated and reviewed commentaries. I studied them and then began my collection on the basis of what the experts told me. Since I did all of that work, and since I continue to keep up with the project, I thought it might be helpful to share the recommendations.
My focus is on newer commentaries (at least in part because most of the classics are now freely or cheaply available) and I am offering approximately 5 recommendations for each book of the Bible, alternating between the Old Testament and the New. Today I have turned to the experts to find what they say about 2 Peter & Jude.
2 Peter & Jude
Richard Bauckham – 2 Peter and Jude (Word Biblical Commentary). While Bauckham’s commentary is not quite the consensus favorite, it is unanimously held up as a brilliant and helpful treatment. Yet every commentator on the commentaries critiques it for one small but important eccentricity: Bauckham does not believe that Peter wrote 2 Peter! That detail aside, the experts all agree this commentary is a must-read for the pastor and scholar. D.A. Carson says, “[T]his point should not put anyone off using what has been and will be the standard in the field for decades to come.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Gene L. Green – Jude and 2 Peter (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Green’s volume in the BECNT is a great alternative to Bauckham’s. Keith Mathison puts it at the top of his list and says, “Until very recently, there were not a lot of choices for good commentaries on 2 Peter and Jude. The situation has changed dramatically in recent years with the publication of several very good works. If you are able to have only one commentary on 2 Peter and Jude, this recent commentary by Gene Green should be at the top of your wish list. At 450 pages, it is thorough without becoming inaccessible. It should be of use to both students and pastors. Highly recommended.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Peter H. Davids – The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude (Pillar New Testament Commentary). Those who do not pick up either Bauckham or Green as their first choice for 1 Peter and Jude will doubtless turn to Davids and his contribution to the PNTC. It is held up as slightly simpler than Bauckham’s but still in-depth enough that it may prove tough-going for the untrained pastor or poorly-trained pastor. Carson says, “the combination of rich exegesis and thoughtful theological reflection … makes it a first choice.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Thomas Schreiner – 1, 2 Peter, Jude (New American Commentary). Where Schreiner’s volume is at or very near the top of the list for 1 Peter, it does not stack up quite so strongly when compared to the other volumes commenting on 2 Peter and Jude. Still, Carson commends it as “one of the most impressive volumes in the NAC series, nicely displaying Schreiner’s combination of exegesis and theological reflection couched in admirable clarity.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Douglas J. Moo – 2 Peter, Jude (NIV Application Commentary). With so many strong volumes available for 2 Peter and Jude, there may be no good reason to select a fifth commentary. However, those who know Moo’s work will know that he is always worth consulting. Mathison says it well: “Although the commentaries in the NIVAC series vary in quality, any time you see a commentary by Douglas Moo, it will be well worth reading. Moo is an outstanding New Testament scholar. This work should prove especially helpful to pastors.” (Amazon, Westminster Books)
Let me close with a couple of questions: Have you ever preached through 2 Peter or Jude? What are your preferred commentaries? Are there some you’ve found particularly helpful for preaching or devotional purposes?
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